2-76 LIFE OF had not much opportunity of showing these qualities, •which appeared more fully when her husband again entered on public life, and the most extended circle had access to their hospitable house. There she ap- peared always as the reigning spirit, while he, whose sphere was more the public and universal interest, followed his own inclinations and purposes in social life. This was an important part she had to play, for she thereby also smoothed the path on which her hus- band laboured. In Jena, already, and to a greater extent subsequently in Paris, Rome, Vienna, Berlin, , and Tegel, the house of Humboldt was universally known as the centre of intellectual and social life, as the "point de ralliement** as she herself calls it, for natives and foreigners. Her house was open to every man of mind and talent, even without a recommenda- tion. If Madame de Stael and Madame de Recamier are named as those who, in the most social country in Europe, were the point of union for the intellectual life in modern times, we may mention as their equals, among German ladies, Madame von Humboldt and Eahel Levin, who, in the absence of qualities which made a Stael shine, have other advantages which perhaps only German women of such eminence pos- sess. Varnhagen von Ense says, in his £C Gallery of Pictures/' "The amiability of mind and character, the high degree of social cheerfulness, and the great and noble activity whida distinguished this charming woman during a highly-fortunate life, are still too fresh and too highly cherished in the memory of all who knew her to make any mention of it necessary/' It would certainly have been a great acquisition for us, if the varied life of Madame von Humboldt had been recorded in letters such as those of Rahel. Such a memento would have cast a still brighter light on Humboldt^s character, and might have enabled us to give to those recollections of William von Humboldt more biographical completeness; but we hope they will nevertheless be considered as characteristic of his life and tendencies, and enable the reader to form, an esti- mate of one of Germany's greatest men in modern days.